Mike Pence on the “American Heartland” and the Holy Land

By Shalom Goldman, Middlebury College. The Republican Party platform, posted last week, gives the American-Israeli relationship considerable space. Pundits in the U.S. and Israel have duly noted the absence in the platform of any reference to a "two-state solution"—a phrase that appeared in the 2012 Republican platform but has now become identified with the Democratic Party and the State Department tenures of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. Republicans are by inference rejecting … [Read more...]

Setting the Global Table

By Rev. Dr. Joel C. Hunter.  Food and faith go way back:The pretzel is supposed to remind one of a child kneeling in prayer, invented by French monks around 610 A.D. The extreme length of the average rice noodle represents longevity, particularly important to those of the Taoist tradition. Ancient kitchens had to quickly get rid of their ingredients the day before Lent, which led to the experiment that became the pancake. Matzo is unleavened bread, meant to … [Read more...]

Brexit: What Happened? And What’s Next?

By David Binder.  A day is a long time in politics.At 10pm Thursday, 23 June, polling stations closed in regard to a UK-wide referendum of the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU).In the words of The Clash: Would we stay or would we go?The polls, betting markets, conventional wisdom, and even Nigel Farage (arguably the leading figure of the ‘Leave’ campaign) all indicated that we would vote to remain in the EU. How wrong they all were! By Friday morning, by a pe … [Read more...]

Christianity and Culture in the 2016 Election

By Jim Rotholz.a katz / Shutterstock.com  Election years reveal much about American culture that otherwise lies hidden from view. The 2016 presidential contest has been especially revealing, exposing a modern-day form of tribalism that afflicts Americans across the political spectrum.One essential trait of tribal affiliation is establishing social borders: line-drawing, “us” versus “them,” “our people” against “not our people.” In the American political arena it has devolved i … [Read more...]

Religious Communities: Welcoming the “One-Percent”

By Shaun Casey.The success of refugee resettlement undoubtedly has required a “whole of society collaboration,” and it is a woefully under-told good news story.  During the past few months, I’ve been privileged to have one-on-one conversations with some of the “1 percent” in the United States. To be clear, I’m not talking about the wealthiest of the approximately 318 million Americans in the United States. I’m referring to refugees resettled in cities like Des Moines … [Read more...]

Poland’s Battle Between Theocracy and Secular Democracy

By Beth Holmgren, Duke University.   In early April, the Middle Ages engaged in an unusual skirmish with the 21st century in cities across Poland. During a Sunday mass in this overwhelmingly Catholic country, priests read their congregations a letter from the Polish Episcopate calling for an unconditional ban on abortion. Scores of women then walked out in protest, their exodus filmed in famous churches such as St. Mary’s Basilica in Gdańsk and Saint Anne’s Church in Wars … [Read more...]

Daniel Berrigan and Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold: Missing Voices for Human Worth

By Shalom Goldman.Embed from Getty ImagesApril saw the passing of two very courageous American religious figures, the Rev. Daniel Berrigan and Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold. Berrigan, a Catholic priest and member of the Jesuit order, had reached the age of 94. Rabbi Gold, a Conservative rabbi, was 92.Berrigan was born in 1921 to a working-class Catholic family in the Midwest. Gold was born in Poland in 1923 and with his family was deported to Auschwitz at age 17; he was the only one of hi … [Read more...]

Trump, Nietzsche, and the Jewish Tradition

By Rabbi Francis Nataf. An American acquaintance recently told me that there is only one question every Israeli was asking him on his last visit—what’s with America and Trump? Like him or not, Donald Trump has captured the world’s imagination in a way very few have done before. Almost consciously setting himself up as a buffoon and a ruffian, he has nonetheless become a very serious contender for the world’s most powerful office.In response, an army of pundits has struggled t … [Read more...]

How Much Does Race Matter? A Conversation About the Obama Presidency

By the Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson and the Rev. Dr. James Forbes.  The Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, president of Auburn Theological Seminary, and the venerable Rev. Dr. James Forbes, the first African American pastor of the famed Riverside Church, sat down to have a one-on-one reflection of race and the Obama presidency during Black History Month.KH: Coming to the end of the Obama presidency, it seems important that we gain some clarity on the impact of race over … [Read more...]

Pope Francis and the Realities of Climate Change

By Sharon Friedman.Dear Pope Francis, I know you don’t know about climate change. I know because I worked in the business (as climate advisor to a U.S. government executive, pretty much the equivalent of a mid- level bishop in the Roman Catholic Church).  So, like any high level person, you are listening to your advisors.  But I think they may be leading you in a direction that is not the best one for you as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, nor for the rest of the world. I don’t know if … [Read more...]


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